We need to talk about the Tour de France’s Stuck Sausage Truck

The world's biggest bike race was almost disrupted by a wedged truck full of promotional sausages.

by Iain Treloar

photography by Israel Start-Up Nation

Can we talk about the stuck sausage truck? I think we should talk about the stuck sausage truck. Shouldn’t we?

On stage 8 of the 2021 Tour de France, 102 km into a mountainous stage, something went wrong. A big truck, laden with promotional sausages, got stuck on the tight and winding roads of the Col de Romme. 

Why was there a big sausage truck on the road? Excellent question, and thank you. There is a promotional caravan travelling ahead of the peloton. It casts assorted treasures and single-use plastics to the waiting public, and one of these treasures is the offering of a sausage brand called Cochonou. It has been the Official Sausage Supplier of le Tour – and oh, my friends, there’s an Official Sausage Supplier –  since 1999, and has been in the Tour’s official promotional caravan since 1997. 

As the caravan goes along, seven Citroën 2CVs drive ahead of the race, flinging meat and bucket hats at the adoring public. For the caravan-crazed fans, it is a highlight nestled within the day’s highlight.

Happier days for Team Cochonou, 2018.

But today: ahead of the caravan, and ahead of the peloton – part of the vast infrastructure of the Tour de France – was a big semi-trailer. And with it, the 24-year-long history of Cochonou and the Tour de France – a red and white checked journey of glory and garlic, majesty and manufactured meats – came close to reaching its lowest ebb. 

So: to recap. A Cochonou truck, stuck on a hairpin. A peloton, closing behind. A frantic race against time. 

The promotional caravan was forced to divert, winding through a valley to allow the passage of promotional trinkets to continue. The truck, wedged between two rustic rock walls, urgently tried to work itself loose. Behind it, bemused tourists and recreational cyclists and team vehicles.

It was, briefly, a situation with some very funny echoes from Stuck Vehicles Of Years Past. The Orica GreenEdge Bus; the Evergreen in the Suez Canal

If only this was a historic stuck truck that passed into folklore. Tragically, it was not to be. 

The stuck truck was freed. How? We do not know. The race radio said it was stuck, and then, some time later, said that it was not. A big truck of thousands of bad bucket hats and portions of withered promotional sausages, five to a pack in a little plastic pouch, wiggled its way free, continuing on its way to hand out more sweaty meats. 

Depending on your point of view, that may well be a great thing or a terrible thing. The race route of a scintillating day’s racing was maintained; le Tour went on. Vive le Tour!

But there is a small (but statistically significant) part of me that mourns the release of the Stuck Sausage Truck.  

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